Genetics, Mass Media and Identity: A Case Study of the by Yulia Egorova, Tudor Parfitt

By Yulia Egorova, Tudor Parfitt

This can be the 1st publication to discover the impression of genetic study at the Lemba Judaising neighborhood of Southern Africa and the phenomenon of Israelite identification. The technological know-how of genetics as relayed by way of the media is perceived by means of laymen as being irreproachably goal 'hard science': its disinterested 'scientific' findings look immensely extraordinary and should hence act as a strong catalyst for switch. subsequently, an oral culture adored through some of the Lemba that they're of Jewish starting place seems to be supported by means of fresh DNA trying out, which has deeply affected the narrative and non secular id of the gang and how the tribe is perceived within the Western global. foreign in allure, this topical textual content brings jointly state-of-the-art study at the social, cultural and moral implications of genetics and the research of Judaising pursuits internationally. This ebook may be of curiosity to researchers and scholars of Jewish background, genetic anthropology, race and ethnicity reports, and non secular and cultural stories.

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Extra resources for Genetics, Mass Media and Identity: A Case Study of the Genetic Research on the Lemba and Bene Israel

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1997). Using methods developed by Mark Thomas, the geneticists expanded their study to type 12 markers, 6 microsatellites and 6 slow-mutating biallelic markers, that is, combined stable markers with a more rapidly changing set, which allowed them to define a hierarchical classification. The study, which looked at the DNA of 306 Jewish priests, Levites and lay Jews from Canada, Israel and the UK, showed that the Cohanim had a high level of homogeneity – a considerable number of their Y chromosomes were identical in all 12 markers: 45 per cent of the Ashkenazi Cohanim samples and 56 per cent of the Sephardi Cohanim samples.

Moreover, a cluster of closely related NRY haplotypes was found at much higher frequency among Ashkenazi Levites than among either Sephardi Levites or any other Jewish group. This discovery led scientists to conduct a study which would focus solely on Ashkenazi Levites, as it promised to shed light on the patrilineal descent of the Levites and on the history of origin of Ashkenazi Jews. This is a somewhat controversial issue: some historians and linguists have questioned the Middle Eastern origins of this population and have argued that they were originally, at least in large part, converts.

Jewish attitudes to people of colour and both Gentiles’ and Jews’ constructions of Jewish colour may well have some relevance for any discussion of Jewish and other attitudes towards black Jews. By and large, the attitude of the Bible, the primary Jewish source, is not particularly negative with respect to black people. The term for a black in Hebrew is cushi which in fact designates not skin colour but rather ethnicity and place of origin. The Cushiim were the descendants of Cush, son of Ham, son of Noah, and Cush becomes the Hebrew term first for Nubia and then for Africa in general.

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